Colleges

Choosing a Major for Your Undergraduate Degree: What’s the Best Path for You?

Choosing a major when you first decide to go to college can be a difficult decision. You’ll likely have your parents telling you to major in one thing, when in reality you want to major in something completely different. This isn’t to say that your parents aren’t right, but ultimately the decision should be up to you. After all, the major you choose will likely be what you find a career doing for the rest of your life.

What are you good at?

There might be many things that you are good at in high school, so make a list of all of your skills. Don’t leave anything out. After you have made the entire list, rank them in order of how good you are at it compared to the rest of your list. Are you good at soccer but better at physics? Are you good at art but better at writing? These are all things you will want to know before you choose a major.

Now, you don’t have to necessarily choose the top skills on your list, but it will give you a good idea of what you can major in. Many of your skills may be applicable to another one of your skills, especially as an undergraduate. For example, you may rank writing and science high up on your skill list. Those two skills go hand in hand if you want to be a researcher and publish papers in a scientific journal. Alternatively, you may be good at art and mathematics, well architecture may be right for you.

What is your passion?

When you are considering your passions – what you like to do – rank them in order of what you would like to do when you get older, not necessarily considering how good you are at it. You can always learn to do something, so your skills shouldn’t absolutely play into this list. Have you always wanted to be an astronaut? A 1st grade teacher? The owner of an environmentally focused nonprofit?

In the end you will want to choose something holistically after considering all of your possibilities.

What do you want to do after graduation?

Consider this question in depth. What do you really want to do after you graduate with a BA? Do you want to go to graduate school? Law School? Dive straight into a career? These are all things that you want to consider when choosing a degree because some careers will require more schooling and some won’t. Another thing to think about is that a lot of jobs will require you to gain work experience, which means you can begin your career at a starting position and go to graduate school while you work.

It may also be good to look up difficulties of career paths, average starting pay, and job outlook. All of these are important to ensuring you are able to be happy when you are able to retire.

How important is your major as an undergraduate?

Again, all of these questions won’t definitively choose a major for you. That decision is completely up to you. Your major is important, but studies do show that there are a significant amount of people who find careers in an industry completely unrelated to their major. Even more so, many graduates find careers where the skills they learn in their undergraduate school is what matters most. In other words, their degree is indirectly related to their career field.

Can you change your mind?

Plus, you can always change your mind while in college. You don’t exactly want to change your degree during your senior year, as that will likely delay graduation and cost you more money in tuition. However, the first couple of years are typically getting through your general education and prerequisites, so you have some time to figure it out.

Choosing a degree is tough, but as mentioned above, the decision is up to you. Don’t let other people tell you what is best for you, because in the end you will have to live with what you’re doing, not them.

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